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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Sewage spill prompts closure of Waikoloa Beach

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

WAIKOLOA, Hawai'i — A half-million gallons of raw sewage has spilled into one of the state's most popular beaches, closing down 'Anaeho'omalu Bay at the Waikoloa Beach Resort.

The spill occurred Sunday from a break in a 12-inch main force line owned by West Hawai'i Utilities Co., a private utility that provides sewer and water services to the resort, which includes the Hilton Waikoloa and Outrigger Waikoloa hotels, the Waikaloa Village residential development and many condominiums.

Ann Teruya of the state Health Department's Clean Water Branch in Honolulu said utility officials told her the break wasn't detected until Monday, when workers noticed an abnormal flow into the resort treatment plant. It took about 20 hours to stop the spill, she said.

State health officials on the Big Island responsible for monitoring the cleanup declined to discuss the situation yesterday.

Signs have been posted along the shoreline, advising people to stay out of the water. Robert Spetich, general manager of the utility, said it will be days before his staff knows just how bad the pollution may be.

Water samples taken yesterday were to be tested overnight at two laboratories, including a state health facility, to determine the level of pollution, he said. Spetich predicted it may be tomorrow or Friday before the area will be reopened.